Review by Frank Plowright
By this final volume you’ll have decided either that Chelsea Cain’s storytelling technique is wonderfully whimsical, individual and to be cherished, or relentlessly irritating and discursive with any plot progression grudgingly supplied. If it’s the second, you’re unlikely to be here after Vol. 2, yet here is where everything is drawn to a close.
Maude’s secret is now out. Her parents are aware she’s a were-panther, but society has procedures in place to deal with that. They begin with the rehabilitation centre, advertised as if a holiday camp, instead a jail at best, and possibly considerably worse than that. Actually, definitely worse than that.
Throughout Man-Eaters we’ve seen Lia Miternique’s realistic looking articles and ads promoting Estrocorp, the company producing water containing hormone suppressant that prevents the were-panther transformation. Here we learn they’re even more sinister.
There’s an overwhelming self-awareness to Man-Eaters, the positive side of that weaving a story satirising society’s continued taboo around menstruation into a slapstick plot, but as seen on the sample art, Cain addresses online comments in-story. They may be self-righteous and narrow-mindedly ignorant, but is in-story the place to highlight this? There’s also an incredible sense of self-indulgence. Yes, Miternique is skilled, but a whole chapter at a time of her scrapbook pastiche ads and activities has little value. It’s flicked through in a minute. Was it worth the time?
A new artist draws the comic sequences. Elise McCall has a looser style than Kate Niemczyk, and were their pages in the same collection it might be an awkward mismatch, but without any comparison McCall works just fine. She defines the cast and puts a lot of effort into the scenes that call for it, particularly near the end. The ending, however is rushed, disappointingly as a few less scrapbook pages in the following chapter would have departed from formula, but made for a better story. That’s Man-Eaters, though, part frustration, part enjoyment.